For over a century, the births, deaths and marriages of the descendants of John Ferrar, the founder of the Limerick Chronicle, were recorded in its pages.

Henry Strafford Ferrar was born in Belfast on July 10, 1850 the son of Mary Minchin and Michael Lloyd Ferrar, grandson of John Ferrar. Henry Stafford was educated at the Royal Academical Institution of Belfast. When fourteen years old he went to Germany for three years and attended the military and agricultural school at Neuwied-on-the-Rhine.

Henry Stafford Ferrar

While Henry Strafford was a young man in Belfast, he was a member of the Orange Order and critical of the Roman Catholic population. Unlike his Limerick great grandfather who opened a school for children of all religions.

Henry Stafford stated at an Orange society meeting in Coleraine that was recorded by the Downpatrick Recorder February 18, 1871

“expressing the pride he felt at seeing so many good men and true of Coleraine assembled – men determined never to allow the Papacy to override their privileges – men who, if need be, would hoist aloft the colours which in days long past waved around the defenders of Derry; and men who would emulate the noble example of their ancestors.”

Soon after this extreme opinion was published, he moved to New York. There he married Frances Anne Veitch in Manhattan, on 26 April 1872.

His brother Howard Minchin died that same year and his death was recorded in the Chronicle on July 18, 1872,

“Ferrar- June 11, at Sheagum, West Berar, Central India, suddenly, of sunstroke, Howard Minchin Ferrar, fourth son of Michael Ferrar, of Belfast, and great grandson of the late John Ferrar, founder of the Limerick Chronicle, aged 31 years.”

On April 24, 1873, his first child Beatrice Mary Minchin was born at East Thirty-sixth Street, New York. Between 1875 and 1878, the Chronicle recorded the births and deaths of the Henry Strafford’s infant sons.

“Birth… on 4th Nov [1875]., at Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A, the wife of Henry Stafford Ferrar, of son [William Hugh Ferrar].”

A year later, the following was posted

“Death… Ferrar – November 27th [1876], at Brooklyn, New York, aged one year, William Hugh, only son of Henry Stafford Ferrar, and great great grandson of John Ferrar, by whom the Limerick Chronicle was founded”.

Henry Strafford’s second son Thomas Howard Minchin was born on September 14, 1877 at Brooklyn and died in

“New York July 11th [1878], Thomas Howard, son of Henry Stafford Ferrar, and great great grandson of above named John Ferrar.”

In that same issue, August 15, 1878 another of John Ferrar’s descendants was remembered

“May 7th at Manchester Frederick Ferrar, second son of the Late Lieutenant Rickard Lloyd Ferrar, 41st Regiment, and great grandson of the late John Ferrar founder of the Limerick Chronicle, aged 57 years”.

Rickard Lloyd was Henry Stafford’s uncle.

In 1884, Henry Stafford moved to Florida where he worked in agriculture. While he was there his wife remained in New York where the press announced the birth of two of their three daughters, the first, Kathleen, on August 10, 1884 in Brooklyn. The second daughters birth was announced as such

“October 25, 1889 at Brooklyn the wife of Henry Stafford Ferrar of Fulton Duval County Florida, a daughter [Kayutah].”

In 1891, the family moved to Nebraska, where he worked as the superintendent of agriculture for the Oxnard Beet Sugar Company for two years before becoming manager. He became a member of the Nebraska Legislature in 1903-4.

In 1906, he became a naturalised citizen of the United States. The family (including his three adult daughters) were living in Wisconsin by 1910 where he was still working in the sugar industry. By the time of his death on June 7, 1920, he had moved to Colorado, working as a farmer and was living with his wife Frances and daughter Kathleen.

This article by Sharon Slater was first published in the Limerick Leader on 15 September 2018.